Moments of Mindfulness
Being mindful in daily life has such a positive effect on the psyche. We begin to notice the beauty that surrounds us and develop gratitude for just being alive. So often we wander through life not fully awake. We do tasks and chores without thinking. We worry about the future and lament about, or long for, the past. We don’t really listen to others when they are talking – we are busy thinking about our response or our next action. Have you ever unconsciously commuted to work, for example, and almost forgotten how you got there?
We often wish we were somewhere else, in some future or past place imagined to be more pleasant. The current moment is truly all there is, though. This moment, now, is life! Practicing mindfulness is an excellent way to embrace being alive and learn how to really enjoy living. When we bring our attention to the now, we cannot worry or experience other negative emotions. We are fully immersed in whatever we are doing, which also means we will be more effective and efficient. Meditation on the breath is a great way to develop mindfulness. It is not the only way, however. Here are a few ideas to bring mindfulness into your daily life.
- Stand by a sunny window or go outside, close your eyes, and feel the warmth of the sun. Sit or stand in the sun for a few minutes (or at least one minute). Focus on the feeling in your body. If thought intrudes, just notice; take a deep breath, and relax into the sun’s light and warmth.
- Eat or drink something mindfully. Take a few minutes to simply enjoy. Notice the temperature, texture, flavors, smell. Don’t talk, look at the computer, read a book, or do anything else. Be fully immersed in the sensations.
- Take a mindful walk. Feel the pavement or, better yet, the earth beneath your feet. If it’s warm enough, walk barefoot in the grass. Feel the cool blades of grass between your toes. Feel the air touching your skin: is it warm, cold, somewhere in between? Is there a strong wind or breeze? Hear the sounds. Cars, birds, people talking. Be here now. If you get lost in thought, just notice, and then bring your attention back to what’s happening around you.
- Be quiet at the beach. Whether you are alone or with someone else, don’t talk, just direct your attention to the beauty surrounding you. Watch the waves – stare out into the ocean (or a lake if you are not near the sea). Be in awe of the power and energy (or let the tranquility of a calm lake relax you). Play in the sand. Feel the tiny grains slide through your fingers. Build a castle or collect shells and rocks. Create a design with them. Notice the different colors and textures. Remember what it was like to be a child playing at the beach.
- Place your full attention on your companion. The next time you get together with a friend or your significant other or child – anyone, really – truly be with them. Listen to every word they say and resist thinking about your response or how you feel. Try to notice how that other person feels. Notice body language. Really listen. Experience that person for who he or she is, not what you expect or want them to be.
Are there other mindfulness techniques that have worked for you? Please share in the comments section if so! Have a great weekend!